I've been looking at the currency reserves (COFER) data on the IMF site:


What caught my eye was the 5% drop in Unallocated Reserves between 2015 Q1 and Q2, from 46.99% to 41.83%. (Previously, since at least 2008, the trend has been a gradual climb upwards.) The claims in all major currencies went up; GBP in particular. I've been trying to understand why, and if this has any relation to economy fundamentals, or if it is just accounting noise?

The "About COFER" page tells me "FX reserves do not include holdings of currency by the issuing country". So that burst the bubble of my first guess of what "unallocated reserves" meant. It goes on to say: "Unallocated Reserves is the difference between the total FX reserves in the IFS (world table on foreign exchange) and the total allocated reserves in COFER. It includes FX holdings of those places that report to IFS but not to COFER."

Can anyone explain what that means? (BTW, I've not been able to find the IFS table they are referring to, yet.)

A footnote to the COFER reporters page says "China has reported a representative portfolio on a partial basis, and will gradually increase the reported portfolio to full coverage of FX reserve assets within a period of around two to three years." (I have to assume they mean 2-3 years from 2015.) Could the jump in allocated reserves be due to that?


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